State grant to enable Sarasota Police Department to focus more resources on pedestrian and bicycle safety

Officers’ goal is to educate the public in effort to decrease injuries and deaths

Image courtesy FDOT

The Sarasota Police Department has received a grant for a High Visibility Enforcement program to enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety, the department announced on Sept. 4.

“The City of Sarasota ranks in the top 25 counties in the state of Florida for traffic crashes resulting in serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists,” a news release explains.

“In an effort to protect the safety of the most vulnerable road users,” the release adds, “the Sarasota Police Department will be conducting High Visibility Enforcement Details (HVE) from now until May 2019 throughout the City of Sarasota with focus on several key roadways …”

Those roadways are as follows, the release notes:

The roadways in the city of Sarasota were chosen on the basis of crash data involving pedestrians, bicyclists and motor vehicles, the release explains.

HVE police details are funded through a contract with the University of North Florida’s Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM), in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation’s initiative to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, the release says.

“The goal of this enforcement effort is to increase awareness of and compliance with traffic laws that protect the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists,” the release explains. “Enforcement efforts will focus primarily on education to drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists,” the release says. “However, violations may result in warnings or citations depending on the circumstances.”

An FDOT graphic shows the counties that are top priorities for the initiative. Image courtesy FDOT

“The safety of our community is our number one priority,” said Officer Jason Frank of the Sarasota Police Department Traffic Unit in the release. “We want every driver, pedestrian and bicyclist to understand and know the rules of the road,” he added in the release. “Safety doesn’t happen by accident.”

All contacts with the public will be documented, the release notes, with the results to be sent to the Florida Department of Transportation for evaluation at the conclusion of the safety campaign.